In 2010, the Baltimore Orioles were just 24-48 against the American League East. (9-9 against Boston, 5-13 against New York, 7-11 vs. Tampa, and 3-15 against Toronto.) If the 2011 O's are going to be improved as a whole, they have to be competitive against their divisional foes. After beating the Boston Red Sox 4-1 tonight, Baltimore has improved to 4-4 against the East to start the year.
The O's are now 9-12, while Boston falls to 10-12.
1) If Britton was feeling any nerves about pitching against Boston, they sure did not show early. He quickly rolled through the Sox in the first 3 innings, getting 6 grounders in the process. Completely froze Youkilis for strike 3 in the 2nd. In the 4th, Pedroia led off the inning with a single that got the Boston crowd back into the game. Several things went against Britton that inning, but he did a good job of keeping his composure.
1a) Speaking of keeping his composure the 5th inning for Britton was something to see. He allowed Varitek's 3rd hit of the year, which was followed by an Ellsbury double. He pitched around Pedroia, walking him on four pitches. Facing Gonzalez with the bases loaded, up a run, with 2 outs; Britton got the Boston 1st baseman to ground out for the 3rd time.
1b) Ending line for Britton, 6 innings, 5 hits, 1 er, 2 bb's, 2 k's. 94 pitches, 59 strikes, 13 grounders.
2) Jones would strike out in the 2nd inning, but not before fouling off 4 or 5 pitches in a tough ab. In the 3rd he provided the O's 2nd run of the night with a long sac-fly to RF. (Though I understand the argument he should have taken a pitch there.) Jones would contribute another sac-fly in the 5th, extending the O's lead to 3-1.
3) In the 2nd, Reynolds smacked the first pitch he saw into the left-center gap. Ball was really smoked. In the 7th, Reynolds was up with the bases loaded and would hit a sac-fly to CF to build the Oriole lead to 4-1.
4) O's caught a break on the Wieters' dribbler down the 1st base line, as the Oriole catcher ran his streak of hitting with runners in scoring position to 7 for 7. (That streak would end later in the game.)
5) The Orioles had a number of guys contribute, with 12 hits overall tonight. Was good to see Lee, Guerrero, and Scott combine for 7 of them.
6) I liked that Johnson was allowed to come out for a 2nd inning of work. After allowing a lead-off double to Gonzalez to start the 8th, he got Youkilis to pop-out and struck-out Ortiz, and Lowrie to end the inning.
7) Gregg entered the game, and earned his 3rd save. Most importantly he got Drew to start the inning.
1) In the 2nd, Andino and Roberts both batted with a runner at 3rd base, and were not able to get the 2nd run in. Roberts entered the ab batting .500 (7 for 14) with runners in-scoring position, so this is not a critique on his efficiency. Just pointing out the O's did not capitalize there. Same thing in the 3rd, with Jones and Reynolds. They got 1 run in, but the opportunity was there for more. Same thing in the 7th, when Wieters streak of perfection with runners in scoring position came to an end. The O's won without these add on runs tonight, but it made for a tight game throughout.
2) In the 4th, Britton had a sure-fire double-play ball go off his glove (he did recover to get Gonzalez at 1st). He also allowed Pedroia to get a huge jump off 2nd base and an easy steal of 3rd. (I don't think Wieters had a play even if he caught the ball.)
3) Also in the 4th, Roberts faced a tough-hop, but was rightfully credited with an error on a play that should have ended the inning a batter earlier.
None. After getting their heads bashed in Saturday, the O's came back and lost a very tough game Sunday. They came back tonight, and in his 5th Major League start; Britton was able to handle the Boston lineup.
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Lifelong. Down by the river.
Lifelong. Down by the river.